President and Board

Joanna Crooks, President

JoannaJoanna Crooks founded the Dublin Youth Orchestra in 1981, the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras (IAYO) in 1994, and the Jeunesses Musicales Ireland in 1995, and devised the IAYO Festival of Youth Orchestras in 1996, and has played many key executive roles since then to ensure their consistent success. She has toured all over Europe, in Canada and in the USA with the youth orchestras, giving young Irish musicians invaluable international experience.


Adrian Petcu, Vice-President

Adrian PetcuRomanian-born violinist Adrian Petcu has lived in Cork and has been a Senior Lecturer at CIT Cork School of Music since 1978. His performing activities include solo, chamber music and concerto appearances, also membership of various prestigious orchestras and chamber music groups with whom he has toured throughout Europe, US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Other work includes adjudication in national and local competitions, Specialist Extern Examiner for under and post-graduate courses at RIAM, WIT and DIT, string staff development workshops around the country and masterclasses in Ireland and abroad. He has been on the Board of Directors at the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland and at Music Network.

His work with young people includes coaching national, regional and local youth orchestras. Among others he has tutored the string sections of both NYOI and JNYO, has conducted several regional youth orchestras and has most recently been involved with the CYChO project. Adrian has been Artistic Director at ConCorda Chamber Music Course for Young String Players and has been a member of teaching staff in many other chamber music programmes such as Aravon, Termonfeckin and other courses organized by the IAYO and by the Xenia Ensemble in Italy.


Board Members


Clare Daly, Chairperson

ClareClare grew up in Cork and went to Cork School of Music to learn bassoon when at school.  She played in the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland from the age of 12 until 21.  After graduating from TCD with a BA in Russian and Sociology she moved to London to work in arts administration.  She worked for IMG Artists, an artist management agency, in their Orchestral Touring department for five years as a manager, in particular working with St Petersburg Philharmonic/Temirkanov, Oslo Philharmonic/Jansons and Sinfonia Varsovia/Menuhin.  In 2002 she took up the post of Orchestra Manager for European Union Youth Orchestra.  In 2006 she returned to Ireland she took up a maternity cover contact at IAYO as Director for 9 months.  Clare then decided to move to UCC where she works in administration. In 2008 Clare was invited to join the Board of Directors of IAYO.  She continues to play bassoon as an amateur, playing first bassoon and contra bassoon in Cork Concert Orchestra and Cork Fleischmann Symphony Orchestra .  She is married to Stephane and they have two little boys – Yannick (8) and Jeremy (5).


Niall Catney
Niall CatneyNiall is medical student at Queens University Belfast where he is one of the conductors of the Queens University Symphony Orchestra. He was a pupil at St Malachy’s College in Belfast during it’s time as a specialist music school where he studied cello with Morag Griffin. He is a former member of the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra and the Ulster Youth Orchestra. After leaving the CBYO in 2013 he now works part time as a cello tutor for the City of Belfast School of Music, developing a passion for teaching and coaching the cello sections of some of their younger ensembles. As conductor of QUSO he has been determined to continue the good work of previous students in developing the student run ensemble as it approaches its 10th year, creating performance links with other orchestra’s across Ireland and continuing performance tours in the UK. Also a guitarist, he performs in many pit bands for musical theatre societies as well as one half of the acoustic guitar/violin duo Nine Inch Nialls. He joined the board of IAYO in October 2015 and is looking forward to playing a role in the growing Youth Orchestra movement across Ireland and the social and musical experience it can provide to young people. He is very excited to conduct QUSO as part of the IAYO Festival of Youth Orchestra’s in February 2016.


Amy Gillen

Flautist Amy Gillen is in the final year of her BA in Music Performance in Flute at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Amy was Principal Flautist of the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland on many occasions from 2009-2013. She was also principal flautist of the Donegal Youth Orchestra from 2005-2010. In February 2015, Amy won the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Woodwind and Brass Bursary for Ireland. Amy attended the Sir James Galway Flute Festival 2015, Switzerland and was awarded a Wm.S. Haynes Head joint by Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway. At the Clandeboye Festival, Belfast, 2015, she won the award for the most promising musician under 21. Amy has also taken part in the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Mentoring Scheme for their 2015/2016 and their 2016/2017 seasons. At the Sligo Feis Ceoil 2016, Amy was awarded the RTÉ Lyric FM Bursary and RTÉ Studio Recording, which was broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM in February 2017. At the Sir James Galway Flute Festival Switzerland 2016, Amy was awarded a Gemeinhardt Piccolo and scholarship.

Amy has deputised with the Ulster Orchestra and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. Amy was awarded the Gaiety Bursary by the Royal Irish Academy of Music to attend the Galway Flute Festival 2017, Switzerland. At the Festival, Amy was awarded the Sir James Galway Rising Star Award, chosen by Sir James. She will give a recital at the GFFS 2018, as part of this award. Amy was also awarded a 14K Gold Nagahara Sir James Galway Head Joint at the Festival.


Dervilla Hynes

DervillaDervilla Hynes graduated in 2009 with a BA in Applied Music from DkIT. She specialised in Composition and her primary interest was in Electro-acoustic Composition. She has performed some of her works at various Sonic Arts festivals throughout Ireland and the UK.

Dervilla is a multi instrumentalist, playing piano, trumpet, cello, guitar and percussion. She performs all genres of music and has recorded with various Irish bands, across various genres, over the years. Dervilla is a founding member of the Táin Trio and the Táin Chamber Orchestra. She was principle cellist in the DkIT Chamber Orchestra and is an active member of the Mayo Concert Orchestra, Castlebar Concert and Marching Band and the Boherbuoy Brass Band (Limerick).

Dervilla is a guest conductor of the Mayo Youth Orchestra and the Mayo Concert Orchestra. She also teaches Cello and Trumpet to adults and children of varying ability.
Dervilla is currently completing her Masters in Music Therapy at the Irish World Academy, University of Limerick. Through her studies there, she has worked in the area of Neuro- disability, Neuro-rehabilitation and is currently working with children with special needs.

Dervilla spends most of her ‘free’ time traveling around the country in various trains, planes and automobiles. She is on first name terms with most of the bus drivers in Ireland and has been asked on numerous occasions to “play us a tune” in return for free travel.


Mona McMahon

Mona McMahon is a violin and piano graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, London. She has wide experience of professional playing, having performed as a member of the National Symphony Orchestra, the RTE Concert Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra and many other performing ensembles.

Mona is the Assistant Principal of the City of Dublin ETB Music Centre in Kylemore College and is the director of the Kylemore College Orchestra and Kylemore College String Ensemble. She has recently established Kylemore College Classical Strings for the younger players in the Music Centre. Mona has also established strong links between the CDETB Music Centre and local national schools, St. Michael’s and St. Raphael’s. Mona teaches the violin to all classes from Second to Sixth Class in both schools, with each class receiving one lesson a week. From these classes, children are invited to attend small group classes in the CDETB Music Centre, progressing on to individual classes. Many of these children have taken ABRSM exams, achieving distinctions in many cases.

Mona was the producer of concerts in aid of the Chernobyl Children’s Appeal in the Helix from 2003-2011. These concerts, along with two CDs which she produced, raised over €70,000 for the charity. The two CDs consisted entirely of youth orchestras and youth choirs performing a wide variety of music.

With Mona as director, Kylemore College Orchestra was twice awarded the Artistic Achievement Award at the annual IAYO Festival of Youth Orchestras.


Brian Murray


Brian Murray is a Lecturer in Physical Chemistry in ITT Dublin involved in teaching full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students in research and in collaboration with industry for over 30 years.  He hosted the inaugural “SciFest”, a science fair for second-level students in the Dublin area in ITT Dublin in 2006:  this is now a national & cross-border event in 15 colleges with over 2000 entries annually.

As a parent and administrator in Fingal Youth Orchestra from 1999 to 2016, Brian helped build up its profile through national and international trips and secured arts awards in the county and at the IAYO Festival of Youth Orchestras. He feels his experience complements that of professional musicians and administrators on the IAYO board.

Other relevant experience in the voluntary / non-for-profit company sector includes his roles in the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland; a member since 1988 and a director since 2007: as President (2011-13) he secured and organized the General Assembly of EuChEMS (the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences) for Dublin in 2012.


Ed Phelan

Ed PhelanEd is currently studying for a BA in Music, in BIMM Dublin. With a Diploma in Professional Musicianship from DIT already under his belt, he has been involved in all aspects of the music industry. Ed has worked with many artists and function groups, regularly recording and performing around Ireland. When he is not doing this, he will be found playing in the pit for musicals and theatre productions all over the country.

A guitarist by trade, Ed has studied and played a variety of genres, including classical, jazz, rock, pop, funk and electronic. In 2015, he founded the music tuition website, through which he offers private lessons to students of all standards, as well as teaching in music schools.

Ed hopes to use his industry knowledge gained from actively performing and teaching to bring his passions of both music and education to the IAYO.


Marianne White

Marianne White

Marianne White began her musical studies in Dublin as a violinist in the Young Dublin Symphonia. She later became involved with the Donegal Youth Orchestra and in university the UCD Symphony Orchestra. A graduate of UCD in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music and French, she continued her studies in musical education in Trinity College Dublin by achieving a Higher Diploma in Education. Her passion lies in the development of youth orchestras and voluntary music groups.

In her work as a post-primary school music teacher she has undertaken trips abroad with school orchestra, conducted on television, conducted the Orchestra in the National Concert Hall on several occasions and participated in competitions and feiseanna around the country.

A qualified piano teacher, Marianne founded the Portmarnock School of Music in 2010, a school of music which provides music tuition in Portmarnock and the surrounding areas in North County Dublin. She has been a session musician with bands. She is an organist with the Burrow Singers in St Anne’s Church in Portmarnock. She is a professional pianist and has held many residencies in the Dublin area. She also holds a Diploma in Legal Studies. She was elected to the board of the IAYO in 2014.